November 10, 2015


The results of research Texas Children’s Hospital participated in were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and show teen weight-loss surgery demonstrates the reversal of type 2 diabetes and significant weight loss. Texas Children’s Hospital, along with lead investigators at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and three other sites around the country, conducted the largest study on teen weight-loss surgery to date through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The study enrolled 242 adolescents, ages 13 to 19, all of whom were severely obese with an average weight of 325 pounds before surgery. The participants had an average body mass index (BMI) of 53 kg/m2. Three years after surgery, average weight had decreased by more than 90 pounds, or 27 percent. More importantly, the majority of participants showed reversal of a number of key obesity-related health problems. Reversal of type 2 diabetes was seen in 95 percent and normalization of kidney function was seen in 86 percent. Hypertension corrected in 74 percent and lipid abnormalities reversed in 66 percent.

“Obesity is a serious health threat to millions of children and adolescents around the world, especially those who are considered severely obese,” said Dr. Mary Brandt, director of the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Texas Children’s. “Many of the patients we see in our program suffer from diseases usually seen only in adults. The findings of our study demonstrate that potentially life-threatening diseases, like diabetes, can be reversed in adolescents with severe morbid obesity.”

As with any surgery, bariatric surgery is not without risks. The study found fewer than 5 percent of study participants had iron deficiency before surgery, but more than half had low iron stores three years after surgery, supporting the recommendation for monitoring of vitamin and iron supplementation in these patients. In addition, 13 percent of patients required additional abdominal surgery, most commonly gallbladder removal, during the three-years following their weight-loss surgery.

“Through this data we now know surgical intervention can have a drastic impact on the serious health-related complications and comorbidities many of these children face due to their obesity,” Brandt said. “While further research is needed, intervening early could potentially have more substantial and longer-lasting implications than doing so later in life.”

Click here to learn more about the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Texas Children’s.

November 9, 2015


Bench and Bedside is a digest of the previous month’s stories about the clinical and academic activities of our physicians and scientists. We welcome your submissions and feedback.

October 6

Transient hypoglycemia in newborns may affect school-age academic outcomes

A new study led by Texas Children’s neonatologist Dr. Jeffrey Kaiser found that a brief drop in blood sugar at birth, commonly referred to as transient hypoglycemia, may be linked to lower literacy and math achievement test scores in fourth grade. More

October 6

Jae named to  Baylor College of Medicine curriculum committee

Dr. Andrew Jea, Fellowship Program Director, Director of Educational Programs for the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, was recently appointed to the college’s Medical School Curriculum Committee. More

October 6

Four neurologists will receive prestigious honors from the Child Neurology Society

The Neurology division at Texas Children’s was recognized not once, but four times at the 44th Annual Child Neurology Society Meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 9. More

111015ENT300October 6

Division of Otolaryngology experiences tremendous growth under Arjmand

In just a little more than a year, Dr. Ellis Arjmand has turned Texas Children’s Division of Otolaryngology into the largest pediatric ear, nose and throat program in the country. Prior to his coming aboard as chief of Otolaryngology in August 2014, the program had eight otolaryngologists providing services to the entire city of Houston and its surrounding area. Now, Texas Children’s Otolaryngology has 21 physicians stationed throughout Greater Houston. More

October 13

Texas Children’s anesthesiologists contribute to leading textbook in field

Anesthesiologist-in-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos and several members of his medical staff helped write and edit the recently published Anesthesia for Congenital Heart Disease, 3rd Edition. More

October 13

Clinical Care Center surgery patients now receiving post-surgery prescriptions at discharge

A pilot project was launched on October 13 in the Clinical Care Center that will allow the opportunity for surgery patients to have prescriptions filled prior to discharge. More

October 13

Super Star Physician: Dr. Sunjeev Patel

Dr. Sunjeev Patel of Texas Children’s Pediatrics Lakewood is the latest Texas Children’s Super Star physician. “Being part of Texas Children’s Pediatrics has allowed me to not only see patients in the office, but it also has given me the opportunity to be involved with understanding and improving quality of care,” Patel said. Read more of Patel’s interview and find out how you can nominate a Super Star. More

111015SIUfinishingtouches300October 13

Finishing touches being put on Special Isolation Unit in preparation of opening

Pastel paint, shiny floors and spacious rooms equipped with the latest scientific and technological approaches to biocontainment are just a few of the features of the soon-to-be-finished Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The 8-bed unit designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases is set to open later in October. More

October 20

Vasudevan receives grant for liver cancer research

The Macy Easom Cancer Research Foundation has awarded pediatric surgeon Dr. Sanjeev Vasudevan a $75,000 grant for research into a form of pediatric liver cancer called hepatoblastoma, which is a disease that usually affects children under the age of five. More

111015TransitionMedicine300October 20

Texas Children’s Transition Medicine team holds victory celebration dinner

Nearly 90 percent of children born with chronic or disabling conditions are surviving into adulthood, prompting the need for health care providers to develop appropriate and timely transitions of care. Texas Children’s is ensuring patients here experience a smooth transition to adult care. More

111015LeeWoodruffGrandRounds300October 20

Lee Woodruff inspires packed auditorium at Department of Pediatrics grand rounds

When ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff was injured by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq, his wife, Lee, became his caretaker. Recently, she visited Texas Children’s to share her inspiring patient-family story with the Department of Pediatrics at Grand Rounds. More

October 27

NRI study: Deep brain stimulation restores learning, memory in Rett syndrome mice

In a recent study led by Drs. Huda Zoghbi and Jianrong Tang, and published in the journal Nature, researchers from the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine, demonstrated that deep brain stimulation of a specific area of the brain reverts learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, a leading cause of intellectual disability in girls. More

October 27

NRI researcher receives the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award

Dr. Mingshan Xue, a Carolina DeLuca scholar and researcher at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s, has been awarded the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award. More

October 27

2016 Catalyst Leadership Award receipients named at luncheon

Five outstanding Texas Children’s employees who exemplify leadership while upholding Texas Children’s mission and core values were honored October 23 at a luncheon naming the 2016 Catalyst Leadership Award recipients and the Catalyst Leader of the Year. The award was created six years ago by members of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees in honor of Mark Wallace’s 20th anniversary as president and CEO. More

November 3, 2015


At 6:30 p.m. on its 16th birthday, Radio Lollipop began with a familiar tune from the past, “Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin. It was the same song that played as the radio first went on the air on October 5, 1999. Dingy Debbie, the only original Radio Lollipop volunteer still here kicked off the celebration. Throughout the night, songs from that first year on-air played including Destiny’s Child’s “Jumpin Jumpin.” It was an ode to the group that visited the studio in 2000 to celebrate the first birthday of the volunteer and patient-run radio station.

Radio Lollipop volunteers not only run the radio station bringing music to patient rooms, but they do so much more. In one year, the volunteers prepare 22,500 crafts, give our 4,950 prizes and go through approximately 155 pounds of glitter!

Notable Radio Lollipop guests from the last 16 years include:

  • Destiny’s Child
  • Bellaire Little Leaguers (US National 2000 Champions)
  • Lil Bow Wow
  • James Buescher (NASCAR driver and Texan)
  • Demi Lovato
  • Tracy Lawrence
  • Hillary Duff (came to celebrate the hospitals 50th birthday and visited the studio)
  • The Cheetah Girls
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Rodeo clowns, including “Flame” (a good friend of our very own Cowboy Kelly)


One of the perks about working at Texas Children’s is the comprehensive Total Rewards package we offer our employees, which includes health care coverage, retirement, paid time off and much more. With 2016 Benefits Annual Enrollment is upon us, we are committed to helping you plan and select the benefits that best fit you and your family’s needs in the upcoming year.

Enrollment this year will be from October 30, through Friday, November 13. A newsletter highlighting your benefit options, some changes for 2016, and information on tools that can help make the enrollment process simple and successful was mailed to your home address on October 23.

If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Health Care and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current benefits will automatically carry over next year, with the exception of Flexible Spending Accounts, which require you to actively enroll each year.

What’s new in 2016?
Here’s a short preview of what’s changing for 2016. You can learn more details in the 2016 Benefits Enrollment Guide on our benefits website.

  • CVS/caremark will be our prescription drug plan provider beginning January 1, 2016
  • More convenient retail locations including Walgreens
  • Mail-order pricing and quantities available only at CVS retail pharmacies
  • Modifications to the three medical plans
  • EPO and PPO prescription plan changes
  • In accordance with IRS guidelines the Health Care FSA limit has increased to $2,550
  • Changes to the PTO Sell Program due to regulatory requirements
  • New employees who join Texas Children’s on or after January 1, 2016 are immediately eligible for benefits

Where do I get more information about benefits?
Visit to learn more about your 2016 benefit options.

I need help selecting a plan. What resources are available?
You have access to Decision Direct, an interactive tool designed to help guide your decisions around which medical plan might work best for you and your family. Decision Direct is available on the benefits website under “Tools and Resources” and “Tools You Can Use To Decide”

How do I stay up to date with benefits information?
Text “TCHBENEFITS” to 88202 to receive important benefit reminders and activities year round.

How do I elect my benefits?
Log in to MOLI during Annual Enrollment and submit your 2016 benefits elections by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 13.

We strongly encourage everyone to actively participate in Annual Enrollment. Life changes from year to year, so it is very important to take the time to review and assess our current benefits selections to ensure that they align with your personal health care and financial needs/goals. Take the lead today in making the best decisions for you and your loved ones.


Texas Children’s employees hosted a spooktacular week of Halloween parties to ensure patients and their families reveled in the holiday spirit.

From fun games and prizes to super hero costumes, last week’s celebrations brought smiles to the faces of patients, some of whom were on campus for outpatient visits and others who had to stay at the hospital during the candy crunching holiday.

To ensure all children got a taste of Halloween, Texas Children’s employees donned their Halloween attire and handed out goodies during the three-hour party on The Auxiliary Bridge organized by the Patient Activity Team.

Many of the festive children’s costumes were generously donated to Texas Children’s and distributed to patients at West Tower, Abercrombie and the Clinical Care Units so they could join in on the fun.

For the second year in a row, the Development Department handed out Halloween cards and puppet fingers during the Bridge event. More than 25,000 Halloween cards were received including submissions from Australia and Norway. The cards were also distributed to patients at our health centers and The Center for Women and Children.

But, the Halloween celebration didn’t stop there.

Window washers dressed as Super Heroes scaled the outside of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus while waving to children and families who waited excitedly to catch a glimpse of Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Captain America.

Several patients, families and area residents also stopped by West Campus to enjoy the hospital’s annual Fall Festival where employees dressed in elaborate costumes, handed out candy and entertained the patients with comical dances and songs. Both events were organized by West Campus’ Child Life Department.

And, earlier in the week, Houston Texans’ players Charles James II and Brian Peters, Houston Texans cheerleaders and TORO, who dressed as Superman, posed with patients for silly photos in the photo booth, played games, drew pictures and signed autographs at the Child Life Zone

Below are photos of Halloween events at West Campus and The Zone with the Houston Texans.



Three pediatric gastroenterologists recently joined the pediatric gastroenterology team at the West Campus. The additional physicians brings the team to a total of four full-time gastroenterologists at the West Houston hospital.

“We are very glad to now have four full-time providers at West Campus who can provide needed services to our West Houston families,” said Katherine Bunting, manager of ambulatory services. “Now our patients and their families won’t have to travel far from home to get the gastroenterological services they need.”

The three new team members are:

  • Dr. Yen Pham comes to Texas Children’s from the University of California San Francisco where she pursued additional training in transplant hepatology after earning her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. After graduating, Pham completed a residency and fellowship at her alma mater before moving to California.
  • Dr. Priya Raj completed her medical degree at St. John’s Medical College in India and her residency at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. Prior to joining Texas Children’s, she completed a fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York as well as a Master’s Degree in clinical Research Methods from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has a special interest and expertise in aerodigestive diseases.
  • Dr. Myriam Soraya Barragan has a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease. She completed her medical training and pediatric residency training in Bogota, where she completed work in specialized studies in health care management, pharmacology and epidemiology. Barragan completed a pediatric residency program at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in El Paso and recently finished a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The fourth gastroenterologist at West Campus is Dr. Valentine Enemuo, who joined Texas Children’s in January. Enemuo earned his medical degree from the University of Nigerial College of Medicine. He then completed a residency at the Charles R. Drew University Program and a fellowship at the University of British Colombia – Vancouver. Enemuo’s clinical and research interests include general gastroenterology, gastroesophageal reflux, aerodigestive disorders, swallowing disorders, functional gastrointestinal disorders, gastrointestinal motility disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease.